If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. - Vincent Van Gogh








All the flavor, none of the bigotry!

I must try this.

Same. To the pantry! (tomorrow-ish)

tumblr done started something

This weekend

aww shit.

and now none of you ever have to patron them EVER AGAIN


Information for intersex allies

What is intersex?

Intersex is a term that relates to a range of physical traits or variations that lie between ideals of male and female. Intersex people are born with physical, hormonal or genetic features that are neither wholly female nor wholly male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male. Many forms of intersex exist; it is a spectrum or umbrella term, rather than a single category. Intersex differences may be apparent at birth. Some common intersex variations are diagnosed prenatally. Some intersex traits become apparent at puberty, or when trying to conceive, or through random chance.

How many intersex people are there?

The lowest popular statistic is around 1 in 2,000 people (.05% of births) but a more likely figure is closer to 1.7%. This makes intersex differences about as common as red hair.

Are intersex individuals hermaphrodites?

Biologically, no. Hermaphrodites (such as snails) possess fully functioning sets of both “male” and “female” sex organs. This is impossible in mammals. Linguistically, the word originates in the Greek myth of Hermaphroditus who was both male and female, having elements of both sexes.

In the recent past, some intersex diagnoses were termed “pseudo-hermaphrodites” or “true-hermaphrodites”. While some intersex people use the term, others find it stigmatising due to that medical history. If in doubt, it is best only used by intersex people.

Are intersex individuals sick?

Intersex people, like all people, have health issues. In a few diagnoses, immediate medical attention is needed from birth, but being intersex is not a health issue in and of itself. Natural intersex bodies are most often healthy. Intersex people frequently need hormone replacement as a result of medical intervention.

Why are intersex individuals subjected to medical intervention?

Medical intervention attempts to make intersex individuals’ bodies conform to ideals of male or female. Current medical protocols are based on the ideas that infant genital surgery will “minimise family concern and distress” and “mitigate the risks of stigmatisation and gender-identity confusion”. Surgical interventions intrinsically focus on appearance, and not sensation or sexual function. Childhood cosmetic genital surgeries are also problematic as children cannot consent to them. Adolescents, and even adults, have also reported feeling pressured by doctors and family to conform to societal norms. Some doctors still believe that disclosure of a person’s intersex status would be too alarming.

Very many intersex people suffer the physical and emotional effects of surgery, and related shame and secrecy. At a fundamental level, homophobia, intolerance and ancient superstitions underpin contemporary mistreatment of intersex people.

What is DSD? Is this the same as intersex?

In 2006, the medical community replaced the term intersex with “Disorders of Sex Development” or DSD. DSD reinforces the idea that intersex traits are individual medical conditions or disorders that need to be fixed. Today, some intersex people use the label – especially those who were taught DSD by their parents or doctors since the term’s inception. Intersex people are free to use any label, and the term intersex remains widespread today.

We believe that stigmatising language leads to poor mental health, marginalisation, and exclusion from human rights and social institutions. The term intersex promotes equality and human rights for people born with atypical sex characteristics.

Do all intersex individuals identify as male or female, or in between?

Intersex is not about gender identity; it is a lived experience of the body. Intersex people have a broad range of gender identities, just like non-intersex people. An intersex person may identify as male, female, both, between, X, intersex, intersex man, intersex woman, or none of these. Even so, an intersex person may or may not have obvious physical differences from gender norms.

Are intersex people transgender?

A minority of intersex people change gender, and some of them may self-identify as transgender, but almost all intersex people have had medical treatment to confirm their sex. Often that intervention was something they had no choice about. Many will not fully identify with their assigned gender. This is part of the intersex experience, but it doesn’t make us transgender.

Are intersex people gay or lesbian, or queer?

It depends on the individual, how they define their gender and identity, how they present, and who they form relationships with. Every intersex person is different. Like all people, some intersex individuals are LGBT and others are not, but LGBT activism has fought for the rights of people who fall outside of expected binary sex and gender norms. Intersex is part of LGBTI because of intersex status and a shared experience of homophobia, not because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

What are intersex activists’ goals?

The goals of the intersex movement are to raise awareness, and achieve an equal place in society. We seek the right to bodily autonomy, the right to a life without stigma and discrimination, and the right to a life without shame and secrecy.

How to be a good ally

Consider what you do to support intersex inclusion in health and human rights initiatives.

Change your language and frame of reference. Intersex status is distinct from both sexual orientation and gender identity. These are each recognised in the federal Sex Discrimination Act.

Put intersex people and intersex-led organisations front and centre when talking about intersex.

Many medical studies of intersex people explicitly identify gender identity issues and non-heterosexual behaviours as reasons for medical treatment. Non-consensual surgery is an LGBTI issue as it shows what can happen when non-heteronormative people are established to be “born this way”. Ally with our call to end normalising interventions on intersex children.

Adopt federal Guidelines on gender recognition, and offer everyone F, M and X options if you have to record gender in your workplace. Go further and support multiple options. Consider whether your workplace needs to record information on sex, gender and title. Can you offer an option to opt out?

Intersex people should be included in campaigns for marriage equality, but we are not included in same-sex marriage. Marriages in Australia have been annulled on the basis that one party was neither fully male nor fully female. Include intersex in education, service access, and in employment and anti-bullying policies designed to prevent harassment and discrimination.

Follow and share intersex issues on social networks.



Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience by Katrina Karkazis. Golden Boy, A Novel by Abigail Tarttelin.


Intersexion (NZ, 2012) Orchids: My Intersex Adventure (Australia, 2011)

Speakers, articles, videos, information:

Organisation Intersex International Australia



Twitter @oiiaustralia

Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group Australia



Please note that this document is not fully referenced. Our FAQs and key data list contains curated links to fully referenced articles.

Read this document on our website.

Research and Fact-checking


What should you do one (or both) of these things for?

Short answer: everything.

Long answer: For research, a good rule of thumb is anything that you would have to cite in an academic paper, you should research. That means that anything that isn’t common knowledge, you should research (as well as anything you don’t know that would be considered common knowledge). So (if you’re American) you shouldn’t need to research to find out who the first president was. You would need to research to find out all of his foreign policy decisions that me made during his administration.

Science is something that’s really important to research. Especially if you’re writing sci-fi/fantasy, people will notice if you get things like biology wrong. Same with guns and horses. Along with that, terminology is something you should research. If you’re writing about a software engineer, make sure you research the words that software engineers use (ie. compiler, algorithm, etc.). The thing with terminology, especially of specific professions/sports, is that anyone who is involved in it will know if you’re using the terms wrong.

Depending on how much time you’re going to spend on something (and how much background information you have), you should do quite a bit of research. Watch videos. See if you can find educational information. Read popular sources.

Fact checking is more for things that are relatively minor in your story, where changing details won’t change the story. This can be things like how many chromosomes humans have (ignoring genetic mutations), the name of a part of a gun, or the name of the most populace city in the world.

For example, say you have a non-Chinese character who spent some time in China. You want them to have lived in a southern province. You would research things like different cultural things in China, transportation in China, and career opportunities for foreigners in China. You would fact check things like the name of southern provinces in China (unless the specific province matters to your plot).

When you should you do research and fact-checking?

Research should be done before and during the story writing process. If you plan out the entire plot beforehand, you should probably do a lot of your research beforehand and then record it somewhere. This is also true (regardless of how you write) if your premise depends on something you need to research. For instance, if your premise is based on some biological/genetic concepts, make sure you research them beforehand. If your premise is “two kids go to high school and fall in love,” you don’t need to do as much research beforehand.

If you don’t plan out the entire plot beforehand, research as you go. You may want to research different choices if you’re stuck so you can figure out how to go.

Either way of planning, you’re probably going to have to research during your writing. Even little details may need to be researched (how guns work, the different type of microphones used by military people, how genetic mutations happen, etc.), and you may not know them beforehand. If you have done research beforehand, don’t let that stop you from doing more, and don’t feel the need to dump all of your research into your story. Even if you need to know exactly how sniper rifles are fired, your readers don’t. They just want to see the fruits of your research.

Fact-checking can virtually always be done after you write your rough draft. Especially if you have trouble getting into writing, don’t get bogged down by details. Don’t spend all of your time looking up exactly what the northern-most city in Vietnam that you mention once is when you should be writing your story: pick a city in Vietnam that is close, figure out some way to mark it as something to be checked later, and move on. 

(Non)fiction Series Part 3: Research


The most suspenseful series since Breaking Bad is back with its third episode. This time it’s about research. The reason I put the “non” in parentheses up there is because, as we’ve stated before, research is vital to anyone doing any sort of writing. So even though this article is geared toward a non-fiction writer, you’ll probably find it useful if you’re fiction writer.

We’re going to cover a bunch of different methods of research. Some of these methods won’t effective for every person and every project, but this general overview should be helpful. This is by no means every research skill or concept that you will ever need.

Important disclaimer before we get rolling: This post isn’t about doing original research. Original research, e.g. crunching one’s own statistics, conducting interviews, and things like this, are all very important parts of doing research, but vary far and wide by field. The methods for compiling qualitative and quantitative research are amazingly diverse and certainly couldn’t be answered here. For this, post, we’re sticking to book learnin’. And, you know, similar things. 

First, let’s talk about the Internet.

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For more posts like this, follow the Ultrafacts Blog!

The whole compiled list of useful links. More is to come! Follow today!

Here’s more!

lovelycharts.com – create flowcharts, network diagrams, sitemaps, etc.
e.ggtimer.com – a simple online timer for your daily needs.
coralcdn.org – if a site is down due to heavy traffic, try accessing it through coral CDN.
random.org – pick random numbers, flip coins, and more.
google.com/webfonts – a good collection of open source fonts.
homestyler.com – design from scratch or re-model your home in 3d.
join.me – share you screen with anyone over the web.
wetransfer.com – for sharing really big files online.
hundredzeros.com – the site lets you download free Kindle books.
polishmywriting.com – check your writing for spelling or grammatical errors.
marker.to – easily highlight the important parts of a web page for sharing.
whichdateworks.com – planning an event? find a date that works for all.
everytimezone.com – a less confusing view of the world time zones.
gtmetrix.com – the perfect tool for measuring your site performance online.
noteflight.com – print music sheets, write your own music online (review).
imo.im – chat with your buddies on Skype, Facebook, Google Talk, etc. from one place.
translate.google.com – translate web pages, PDFs and Office documents.
kleki.com – create paintings and sketches with a wide variety of brushes.
similarsites.com – discover new sites that are similar to what you like already.
wordle.net – quick summarize long pieces of text with tag clouds.
bubbl.us – create mind-maps, brainstorm ideas in the browser.
kuler.adobe.com – get color ideas, also extract colors from photographs.
ge.tt – qiuckly send a file to someone, they can even preview it before downloading.
tinychat.com – setup a private chat room in micro-seconds.
privnote.com – create text notes that will self-destruct after being read.
draw.io – create diagrams and flowcharts in the browser, export your drawings to Google Drive and Dropbox.
downforeveryoneorjustme.com – find if your favorite website is offline or not?
urbandictionary.com – find definitions of slangs and informal words.
scribblemaps.com – create custom Google Maps easily.
formspring.me – you can ask or answer personal questions here.
sumopaint.com – an excellent layer-based online image editor.
snopes.com – find if that email offer you received is real or just another scam.
typingweb.com – master touch-typing with these practice sessions.
mailvu.com – send video emails to anyone using your web cam.
timerime.com – create timelines with audio, video and images.
stupeflix.com – make a movie out of your images, audio and video clips.safeweb.norton.com – check the trust level of any website.

For more posts like this, follow the Ultrafacts Blog!

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